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Exploring fine lines on criminal hand

THEY EXPLORE the hands that commit crime and painstakingly compare the minute distinctiveness of thousands of fingerprints in order to help police arrest a criminal.

india Updated: May 17, 2006 01:06 IST

THEY EXPLORE the hands that commit crime and painstakingly compare the minute distinctiveness of thousands of fingerprints in order to help police arrest a criminal. 

Housed in a small quarter in Police Control Room, officials of the fingerprints cell rush to the spot as soon as a heinous crime is reported and scan though a colossal number of fingerprints in their database, comparing their characteristics in order to match the prints.

While the role of fingerprints experts is crucial in solving complex cases and specially in producing undeniable evidence about the presence of the criminal on the spot that eventually helps in prosecution, their contribution is often overlooked.

Officials of the cell that works with skeletal staff say almost 500 fingerprints are taken every month in Bhopal alone and after scanning, their quality is enhanced on the AFIS software that records them and looks into their minute characteristics not known to the person himself.

“Till date we have around 65,000 fingerprints in Bhopal and we keep on adding more to the database that is connected to the main server in the State Crime Record Bureau,” says Inspector (Fingerprints) R Siddiqui. 

     How killers are nabbed

THE BODY of a minor girl who had been raped was found abandoned near Bagh Sewania and a bottle was lying nearby. The fingerprints collected from the bottle matched that of a youth who had committed a similar crime in the past. The police caught him without having to interrogate hundreds of people and he confessed the crime. This incident is just an example how scientific investigation can help police in catching a criminal

“Of the umpteen finger marks available around the scene of crime, the fingerprints are judiciously lifted, developed, processed and then fed into the computer so that in future if the person commits a crime he can easily be nabbed,” he adds.

The software makes prominent each of the almost 2,000 minute characteristics of the hand including curves, pattern and shapes between the lines to give a short-list that is to be studied for a final assessment. If the fingerprints do not match then they are sent to the headquarters for Statewide scanning.

“It takes just a moment to get the impression of hand of an accused or convict and requires no money but still there is sluggishness in collecting the fingerprints at several police stations,” says an official of forensic department on condition of anonymity.

Earlier, there was less emphasis on collection of fingerprints but now even in cases of snatching, efforts are made to obtain fingerprints so as to update records and catch the culprit.

Besides, his involvement in crime in the past can be ascertained with this record. “Of course, with computerisation it has become more scientific unlike in the past when the records had to be maintained manually and it used to be a colossal task,” adds an official.